MECC Foundation inducts Ben Allen into its Hall of Honor at Annual Gala Event

Big Stone Gap, VA — The Mountain Empire Community College Foundation will induct Mr. Ben E. Allen into its Hall of Honor at the 2017 spring Gala to be held on campus Saturday, May 20, at 6 p.m. Mr. Allen will be recognized for his many years of exemplary service to Mountain Empire Community College and to the region.

The MECC Foundation Hall of Honor was created in 2001 to recognize citizens who have made significant contributions to the area or to the development of Mountain Empire Community College. Mr. Allen began his service on the MECC Foundation Board of Directors in July 1996, and he has served continuously since that time, serving as Chair of the Board in 2006 and 2007. He was made an Emeritus member in July of 2001.

In addition to Mr. Allen’s service to Mountain Empire Community College, he is a leader in service to his community, having served on the Boards of Lenowisco Planning District Commission, the Wise County Industrial Development Authority, Wellmont Lonesome Pine Hospital, Wellmont Foundation, Big Stone Gap Redevelopment and Housing Authority, and Holston Home for Children, among others.

Mr. Allen served on the Big Stone Gap Town Council during the 70s and again in the 90s, and served as Mayor of Big Stone Gap twice. He has been a member of the Big Stone Gap Lions Club since 1960, and served a President twice.

Mr. Allen was President and General Manager of Southwest Oil Company for over 40 years. Upon retirement from that organization, he served as promoter of Lonesome Pine Raceway, and he, along with Ken Crowder and his son, Mike, has hosted Pigskin Picks, a popular weekly radio sports show, for the last 17 years. Mr. Allen has also served South-West Insurance Company in a public relations capacity for over 20 years. He was the public address announcer for Powell Valley football for four decades. He has been a member of Trinity United Methodist Church for over 50 years, and has served on various church committees.

Mr. Allen has worked tirelessly to make our region a better place to live. He truly cares about others, and he is a friend to all.

The 2017 Gala theme is “You’ve Got a Friend in Ben.”  The evening will begin with a reception in the Slemp Commons of Phillips-Taylor Hall at 6 p.m., followed by a buffet dinner in the Goodloe Center at 6:45 p.m. A short recognition program will follow dinner, and musical entertainment by The Virginians will top off the evening.

Proceeds from the event will establish the Ben E. Allen Hall of Honor Opportunity Fund, an unrestricted fund that will allow the resources to be used where they are needed most.

Sponsorship opportunities are available. Tickets to the May 20 Gala are $75 each and may be purchased by calling Jeri Bledsoe at (276) 523-2400, ext. 287, or by e-mailing her at Tickets may be purchased or donations made online by going to the MECC Foundation website, and selecting the “Make a Gift” button.  When completing the information, the form will ask for “Gift Instructions.”  Please specify that the funds are for Gala Tickets, or Gala Donation, or Gala Sponsor, as the case may be.  Donations may also be mailed to MECC Foundation, 3441 Mountain Empire Road, Big Stone Gap, VA, 24219, Please make checks payable to MECC Foundation and indicate in the memo section of your check “Ben E. Allen Hall of Honor Opportunity Fund.”

If you have questions, or need additional information about the event, please contact Jeri Bledsoe at 276-523-2400, extension 287, or by e-mail at